Jai played under 8s and under 10s at Flagstaff Hill Football Club and went to Flagstaff Hill R-7 school. He loved his sport, not only football but basketball and cricket as well.  This had a lot to do with him enjoying time with his mates.  He would usually be seen in a large group of friends climbing trees, kicking the footy or bowling a few.  He wasn’t one to want the spotlight, just happy having fun and having a laugh as young kids do.  He was passionate about his mighty Geelong and hero Corey Enright.  As well as being a whizz with sporting stats.  He was the cheeky younger brother to Rhys and a protective of his younger sister Kasey. Jai was never defined by his cancer, but…

Jai and his mates at the football
At 4 1/2 years old, Jai was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a cancer that mostly effects children under 5.  About 40 children are diagnosed each year in Australia and the survival rate is around 70%. Jai went through a year and a half of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and a stem cell transplant, spending many months in hospital.

Jai’s cancer went into remission and he embraced the chance to play sport as well as start school and make many close friends. He was a happy 6-year-old who loved spending time with his family and friends. But in 2013 Jai’s cancer was back we were told there were now limited treatment options.  Jai did not give up he fought every inch of the way.

Jai was part of the football club’s first GOLD round in 2014 to raise awareness for childhood cancer, he was mascot with his older brother Rhys. Jai helped on the Sweets ‘N’ Treats stall, selling the honey crackles he had made with his sister Kasey that morning.  Complaining about her stealing the mixture.  Many of the kids helped that day and continue to do so, even if it is just to eat most of the produce.  One of Jai’s mates was heard to say “wow…look at all your money” to which Jai replied that it wasn’t his but for other kids fighting cancer…and that was just the unselfish and compassionate kid Jai was.

Jai lost his battle with neuroblastoma on the 5th of March 2015 just before his 10th birthday.  Jai will forever be 9, as his mates grow older, go to high school, start dating, learn to drive, start work and even have their own families.  Childhood cancer has stolen these milestones from Jai and his family and friends. 

He is remembered for his incredible courage, determination and compassion.  His legacy is to us all is:

Fight hard, never give up and to make the most of every moment

Jai and friends with the never give up sign

Natalie and Tracey will be running their 44th km in honour of Jai.